regan ocean turns 4

Quirky.  This word has always been my favorite word to describe my adorable little geegs.  Regan has so many quirks I could never begin to tell you them all…but for remembering sake, I will list a few.  He loves to rip any paper up into a million pieces and always chooses one to play with- deeming it a shark or a whale.  He becomes animals- just straight up declares he’s a dog (used to be bear every time but he’s branched out) and then proceeds to act just like said animal.  He always pulls up his sweats to make them shorts and wears his daddy’s shoes constantly claiming he’s Goofy, not to mention his one sock obsession that is often accompanied by rain boots.

Sweet.  My Regan is so incredibly sweet.  He always gives kisses and will always “snugger” (snuggle).  He looks after his little sister with a strong and brave heart- protecting her, sometimes a little more than necessary, but out of love.  He loves to make her laugh and loves to get her to repeat him.  Reegs will give you a wink and a thumbs up at any moment of any day and he is starting to pray a lot…with such a sweet tender heart, always wanting to care for another.  He is my only kid who consistently tells me he loves me without a prompt.  I love how he greets his favorites with a big loud ‘miss you’ when they arrive.

Shy.  For the ones who know Regan the best, he is rarely shy.  Though he definitely gives that cute little look of sort-of embarrassment/shy/sly grin when you give him too much attention/kisses/hugs/whatever.  But to the outside world, he still beats to his own drum and takes his time getting comfortable.  I love to watch him choose who he interacts with.  When his older brother Josiah is around, he automatically feels safer and ventures around more freely, but on his own he is quite cautious and quiet (two words that don’t describe him at all in his natural habitat).

Loud.  When Regan was younger his nickname was Loud Mouth Bass.  Seriously his pipes are out of this world high-pitched and loud.  But the best part about this is that he loves to sing and will sing just about anything.   We always giggle in the car when he starts to belt it out…and when we want to yell hi to someone from the car he is our go-to…seriously it’s like there is a loud speaker attached to this chest or something.  In the morning, his voice is often the first thing we hear throughout the entire house.

Loyal.  My middle child is fiercely loyal.  He always wants his brother- who he calls Juice- around.  He is the first to hear when his sister wakes up lets us know.  Every single morning when we each come down the stairs he announces that we are here- just in case someone doesn’t notice. He knows how to make us feel special, just by being him.  When Josiah came home from school last year, Regan would ask him every time- “How’s school man?”.  It was adorable.

Strong.  Perhaps stubborn might be a different word to describe my little man, but I figure it portrays itself in strength and I like strong better.  Regan wields a lot of power.  It’s a tricky road to walk- not wanting to crush but also wanting to guide and mold.  Even in the simplest of things- like food- it’s a battle for him to take one bite but after that one tiny taste he will usually scarf the rest of the plate… steak, salad, burritos, whatever.  He defies bedtime like a colicky baby but once he lays his head to the pillow he is almost always out like a light.  He will only swim in the pool when he decides and often needs a strong arm of guidance in places like airports and stores, ha!

My little geegs… I was gonna add that he’s a directional genius but it didn’t fit within my other chosen traits.  The kid remembers roads and landmarks like you wouldn’t believe.  I can’t drive near a Starbucks without him asking for a cake pop (and we could be a mile away from it) and he knows where all our ice cream joints are.  That’s gonna be so helpful for our family in the future.  Both bart and I kinda struggle in that field of smartness.  But anyway, I just love this little boy so much.  He cracks us up more than anyone else…and as I was pulling photos for this post, I seriously couldn’t stop laughing.  He’s so weird.  It’s the best!

Happy Birthday my favorite Regan Ocean… you are four today.  It marks four years full of joy and jaw-dropping amazement that we get to be your family.

Love, mommy (yelled super loud of course)

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the squishy eyes and kissy face. always

bears

ode to his obsession with bears and being one. in my hometown of port angeles, WA

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when he was happy the apple orchard…

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and when he was sad…

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our favorite face when we scare him (jokingly). the kid is so expressive

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that would be ranch dressing…all.over.the.couch.and.him. Happy thanksgiving!

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group pictures always end like this for him… i am picturing his first birthday group shot exactly like this- one day I should do a post with all his sad photo shoot faces.

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seriously he cracks me up in group shots.

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such a good big brother to his sister. ps. he’s naked and potty training in this pic…hehe

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hey kids- act natural like you’re having fun building a sand castle. hm. regan?

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whimsical regan on the oregon coast.

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oh how he loves his brother

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can’t get enough of his faces.

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probably the best one- although you can’t really tell- he always throws a thumbs up with a wink on the side. anytime, all the time.

wake up and…

Sometimes it amazes me how often I think thoughts or even worse, vocalize thoughts of ungratefulness.  I mean, come on.  God has given me such abundant life.  Why do I continually decide that it’s not enough?

I am in goal making season, which for some might sound weird but I think it’s the engrained school year in me…I like to evaluate life as I step into each Fall.  Of course, I have high hopes- with possibly a little more time on my hands I plan to get back into cooking more and cleaning more and working out regularly.  I want to spend time alone with Jesus more consistently and create art more often.

But today I realized what I must really set my mind to.  Thankfulness.  I can’t stop naming all the reasons I can be grateful…and that should never end.  My number one goal in this new season is to wake up each morning and name ten things I am thankful for…every single day.  Each time I think like this, I’m left with a big fat WHOA- who. am. I. to. be. blessed. like. this?!?!  And I just don’t want to lose sight of that reality- the wow factor of God’s goodness in my life.

In about two weeks the whole waking up part is gonna get a bit harder.  Josiah is starting kindergarten and 7am will be a permanent alarm clock set on my phone.  But I hope that this focus towards gratefulness will snap me into a smile, along with a nice cup of coffee I imagine.  To begin each day in awe of my Creator and favorite Friend…I don’t see how it could hurt.

What are you thankful for?

a free european vacation- for reals?

AmaWaterways-Promotions-Pictures-Romantic-DanubepsIn approximately 7 weeks my husband and I will be embarking on an all expense paid European vacation courtesy of my hard-working husband and the amazing company he works for.  We will be flying first class to Munich, Germany and then traveling to the port of Vilshofen to board a Danube river cruise for 8 days.  The boat will stop in Passau, Linz, Melk, Krems, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.  (so, a little Germany, a lot of Austria, a little Slovakia and Hungary)  So far I know there will be a lot of walking/biking tours offered, wine tastings, concerts, fancy dinners and some good free time for exploring.

Phew.  Crazy right?  It shocked us back in January when we found out Bart had won the trip…but I honestly didn’t think it would actually happen until my parents told us they would love to come watch our kiddos!  Insane!!  So, my parents are flying out from Seattle to spend more than a week with our three crazies while Bart and I enjoy a real live kid-less free fancy vacation.  It’s what dreams are made of people.  Ha!

Let me just say, flying on a plane without a kid even sounds heavenly- but when we were told we were traveling in first class it was like angels sang.  I have only ridden up in that forbidden area one time and it was for a 2 hour flight to Florida.  So, needless to say, even those first 8 hours are gonna rock my world.  We can actually lay down in our seats?!  Can you tell I don’t really believe it’s happening?  Surreal.

People have asked me what I’m most excited about… I get to spend a week with my best friend on an awesome,unique, fun adventure PLUS I have no responsibilities whatsoever.  Sleeping until whenever I want…eating my meals without serving others first…only being in charge of dressing myself… yes truly…these are the things I’m looking forward to.

The pure simplicity of my packing list is dreamy.  I’m only packing for me.  What?  I can’t remember the last time that happened.  I don’t have to drag around a carry-on the size of my very large dog.  I do however have to find black-tie optional attire…which will be interesting since I can’t remember the last time I wore a dress…or heels.  But I keep reminding myself that I’ll be in a foreign country on vacation so WHO CARES?!?

So- the point of this post is to ask for suggestions!  From the places I mentioned- have you been there and what was your favorite things to see, do, eat?!  I’m not really a fan of super touristy stuff…but if there are can’t misses… please do tell!  I’m really hoping to find local markets and cool little cafes and streets filled with antiques (ha!).  A girl can dream…

never have i ever…the explanation

shocked_faceI loved the reaction this post got yesterday and decided I would offer some explanation since clearly some people thought I was exaggerating.  Hehe…

I’ve never used one of those giant awkward car shopping carts before.  3 years ago, when we moved back to new jersey I naively thought grocery shopping would still be the enjoyable thing it was.  Yet, after repeatedly sweating profusely while trying to not run into every single person and speed crazily through the aisles so as to look like a native, I conceded that food shopping in the midwest is much more my style.  I think fondly of the days of strolling down the empty aisles, reading food labels with no stress of angry eyes staring me down as I slightly blocked their raceway.  So for reals…the idea of trying to wrangle an even bigger cart around jersey peeps?!  Forget about it.

I’ve never taken all 3 of my kids to any store together, ever.  This is true, I swear…and I don’t ever swear.  Much thanks to my dearest husband’s very flexible job and the invention of grocery delivery services (read: PeaPod) I have steered my nerves way clear of the mess that is 3 small kiddos surrounded by a-lot-of-things-they-cannot-have aka: a store.  Actually true story- up until Josiah was about 3 he didn’t even realize that we could buy things and take them out of a store.  He’d literally just touch stuff on shelves and then return each item, no questions asked- like it was a museum. ha!

I’ve never played kids music in my car.  This little confession dates back to my single days when I’d ride with moms in their cars and die a slow death listening to the most annoying of kid’s music.  It was like nails on a chalkboard.  Truth be told, I like some kid’s music and being an elementary school teacher in the past, I sang my fair share of it… but I figure- it’s my car, I can pick the music.  And the beauty is- our kids love our music now and they don’t know any better.  Win/win.

I’ve never bathed a child 2 days in a row.  If you don’t know me well, then you don’t know my struggle with bath time.  What started as a save-the-afro-hair thing turned into a baths-are-too-much-work thing.  It’s sad, but I just hate baths.  Showers will be implemented asap- I’m thinking first grade is a great time to initiate that.

I rarely feed my kids lunch.  No, I don’t neglect them- promise.  I think this started when Josiah began eating baby food.  Behind lost sleep and potty training, feeding baby food to infants might be my least favorite thing about parenting.  Sooo in an effort to balance my distaste, I just fed baby Jos two meals a day… and since Regan came just a year later, I kept on doing it.  To this day, for the most part, my kiddos eat a good breakfast usually and then snack until nap time.  When they wake, it’s a snack until dinner time.  Whenever I have babysitters I try and remember to tell them no lunch is needed, but I get weird looks sometimes…so we have, on occasion, pretended the lunch exists in our children’s lives.

I’ve never taken any kid clothes shopping, for anyone.  I love shopping for clothes and ever since we had kids, I’ve loved shopping for them more than myself.  But, confession…I mostly shop online anyway and the idea of taking my three into the Gap makes me so tired I want to take a nap.  I seriously cannot imagine how that would be beneficial.  They don’t know what a mall is yet, and I’m completely okay with that.  I just realized that I will be taking my oldest to the Uniform Shop this month but only so I don’t end up buying him high-water pleated pants.

I’ve never taken them to a movie theatre.  I actually don’t think this is all too crazy of a confession.  My oldest is only five anyway, and is pretty sensitive to anything even remotely sad or bad on film.  But also have you ever sat down to relish a good flick in the dark only to hear a baby crying or a kid whining…over and over?  I’m not sure how that’s fun for the parent or the kid.  So, I’m holding out for Finding Dori– summer 2016.

I’ve rarely taken them to restaurants…it’s just.not.worth.it.  When Josiah was a baby we rarely hesitated to enjoy a meal out, but I can still picture that one meal that ended it all after Regan joined our family.  He was probably a few months old, and we brought my parents to the Cheesecake Factory.  I think we got through about half the meal before Regan woke up crying and I was forced to tragically miss my meal entirely?!!?  What the what?  That night I vowed, no more restaurants with kids for a long time.  To me it’s not worth the price for the stress…trust me, I love me some take out…but fine dining with little ones is for the birds.

I’ve never cooked dinner for more than 3 nights in a row.  I used to love to cook.  I remember getting married and trying all sorts of recipes and getting creative and inventive and then BAM.  First baby arrived and I didn’t even know how I would keep myself alive, what with my being so selfish and all.  There was definitely no love for cooking anymore.  I go through spurts now, but I’m just not usually inspired.  I love the idea of family dinners and I do dream about creating that reality every weeknight, but for now, it’s hit or miss.

I’ve never had a regular cleaning schedule at my house.  I’m sensing a theme.  Ha!  Can you tell I don’t like doing something that I have to do?  I recall vividly being a new mom and hearing about how this friend of mine was structuring her days now that she stayed at home.  She designated Monday for laundry and Tuesday for food shopping and Wednesday for cleaning and so on…I was jazzed- thinking it would alleviate my monotony and endless desire to lay on the couch when I wasn’t needed by a tiny human.  Nope…instead it gave me figurative hives, thinking I had to clean a toilet every Wednesday.  Never stuck.  Oh well.

I rarely take them to parks.  I used to take Josiah to the park in Missouri.  All he ever did was swing in the baby swing, but it made me feel like a good mom that I was “getting him out”.  Lol.  Granted, we lived across the street from a park, so it wasn’t that big of an effort.  But soon after Regan arrived, I found parks to be cumbersome.  I couldn’t be in two places at once.  Then we moved to New Jersey and I decided that “park” would translate as “beach” to my children from then on.  And it has been wonderful.  We go to the “park” even in the dead of winter and it’s peaceful, I can sit quietly and stare at the waves with no fear of kids falling or having to endure small talk…and we’re all happy.  However, on our recent trip to Oregon, my kids adored the park there.  You should have heard Regan on the swings…it was like he’d tasted a little slice of heaven.  So cute.  Maybe that’s where he and I will go on our dates…if only I could find an empty park.

How’s that Aaron?  Two posts in two days.  Setting some kind of record…

never have i ever… mommy style

Sometimes people seems amazed that we have three children so young and usually comment about how awesome I must be to handle them all.  HA!  While I will take some credit for keeping them alive, Jesus gets all the credit for who they are.  Most of the time I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster and am just doing my best to hold on.  But here’s a reality check…I don’t do it all.

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I’ve never used one of those giant awkward car shopping carts before.

I’ve never taken all 3 of my kids to any store together, ever.

I’ve never played kids music in my car.

I’ve never bathed a child 2 days in a row.

I rarely feed my kids lunch.

I’ve never taken any kid clothes shopping, for anyone.

I’ve never taken them to a movie theatre.

I’ve rarely taken them to restaurants…it’s just.not.worth.it.

I’ve never cooked dinner for more than 3 nights in a row.

I’ve never had a regular cleaning schedule at my house.

I rarely take them to parks.

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I would keep going, but my brother really wants a published blog post and since I keep starting them but never finishing… that’s where the list will end for now.  It’s fun to see where people put their emphasis as they parent and I love to see how people raise their children in different ways.  You’d have to pay me a million dollars to get me to take my kids to Disney world, yet I’ve taken well over 30 flights with my kiddos.  And while many moms turn their nose up at beach trips, I long for more and more sand-filled hours in the sun and waves.

To each his her own.

flying with children: a necessary evil

Parenting is one of those sacred things in life that gives God the ultimate opportunity to answer prayers like “humble me” and all those dumb prayers I think are good to pray.

Flying with young children is the ultimate opportunity to flush out all parenting pride in one single moment.  Yesterday as I tried explaining to my five year old that he wouldn’t enjoy the sweet habanero popcorn he had grabbed from the food cart in the middle of the airport, I overheard a man from behind the cash register yelling at someone to stop opening a package of food.  To my dismay, I realized that someone was my three year old son, who was in fact, tearing open a bag of very expensive dried apricots.  I threw the almost-opened bag on the counter along with my other hurried choices, sure that if my face wasn’t already sun-burned it would be showing an impressively bright mortified shade of red at that moment.

Traveling with kids is never usually enjoyable but I think that doing said travel in front of thousands of people- like in airports and airplanes- turns up the heat to a boiling point almost immediately.  It doesn’t help that I’ve long since loved airports for the people watching, thus I know that’s what people do.  People with children provide those people watchers with plenty of entertainment.  Alas.  I used to love flying…anywhere.  While there were a few high moments on our most recent trip across the country- such as standing in line to go thru security and enduring the woman’s glare behind us as she stared angrily at the thought of waiting for three tiny children and all their stuff to go through only to get a compliment from that same lady on the other side admitting she was impressed at how fast we slid through the line.  Hmm.  Or that time we didn’t have seats altogether so we had to ask a cranky lady if she wouldn’t mind switching with us (which she agreed to only after protest) and then complained again that we had the audacity to sit one of our children next to her (even tho it was the most well behaved one) …the high point being at the end of the six hour flight when she admitted we were right when we said ‘he would be good’.  Oh, did I mention she worked for the airline we were flying?  Hmm.

But mostly the low points overflowed.  Even when everything goes according to plan, plane rides with small children just aren’t easy.  I think it has to do with the fact that at any moment something can go wrong and there isn’t always a solution.  We brought a carseat on for Maya (stellar amazing game changer) except that her feet could touch the seat in front of her, so I had to literally hold her legs down or strong arm her legs into the air…for almost an hour.  She also threw up 3 times on the six hour flight and I only brought one change of clothes for her (that I never actually ended up changing- have you ever tried doing anything in airplane bathrooms?  I avoid them unless it’s a major poop blow out, hence why my poor daughter was soaking wet on a different plane ride/same trip- oops.)

My favorite *note the sarcasm* parts were when we spent time at the departure gates waiting to board.  Nothing makes you feel more despised than the looks people give as they watch your children slowly spin out of control.  You know they are thinking and hoping and praying they won’t be seated next to your hooligans.  But it’s a delicate balance to handle in those moments because I don’t want to force them to sit when they are required to sit for the next 6 hours…that’s where airport exercises come in.  Quite literally I had a session with the boys that included hundreds of jumping jacks, jumps, skips, etc.  Their energy spike may have been due to the fact that I gave them lemonade stupidly…or because when we boarded our plane it was their bedtime.  Hmm.

I was kicking myself for our decision to fly in the evening on the way out, but when I set my alarm for 3:45am for our flight back home I realized the beauty of evening flying.  I am not sure which is worse.  Plus, time changes are a bear, no matter which way it goes.

It’s amazing how perspective changes from the beginning of the trip to the end.  There’s only so much discipline that can be done without resulting in tears…most of which we try to avoid in public, because it’s usually accompanied by loud sad noises.  But on the way home, I did not care if my child was screaming loudly…it was worth it for him to know he was wrong.  He might hate elevators since they provided a private moment for correction- although I think that child didn’t like elevators to begin with.  Literally the first one we rode he was so petrified that he crawled across the opening to get inside (we were carrying three suitcases and a stroller between us so he was relegated to holding his brother’s hand- not so comforting)…sad and cute but you’d think riding in many would allow him to see the truth- hmm.

Occasionally I meet people who have never ridden on airplanes with their children and I’m slightly envious.  Why did I choose to live thousands of miles from my family?  Why is an airplane the only means of transportation?  Teleporting.  I want that.  But then I remember that I love my family and I’m so grateful that we have the finances and means to see them as often as we do.  All the insanity is worth it because of every minute I get to be with them.  And somehow each time we book another flight I have forgotten the most painful parts of the previous travel and can only feel the ache in my heart of wanting to see my people.  Plus I repeat ‘this is only a season’ about a billion times and dream about the future when all our kids will be diaperless and old enough to chill in confined spaces for long periods of time…and to our kiddos credit, they actually do fly quite well, all things considered.

We spent a week in one of the most beautiful places- Cannon Beach, Oregon.  It’s a place that feels like home to me.  We made memories and enjoyed one another a lot.  I can’t ask for anything more.  Until next time…

this shows how my kids really feel about family photos...

this shows how my kids really feel about family photos…

but they are troopers because grandma really likes photos...

but they are troopers because grandma really likes photos…

and we need something to remind us why flying is absolutely necessary.

and we need something to remind us why flying is absolutely necessary.

happy fathers day

I want my children to grow up and be who God has intended for them to be…but so often I find myself hoping and praying that they hold fast to the traits that make their father great.  I don’t want mini barts because I love their own unique personalities, but there are qualities I hope will stick.

Which ones you might wonder?

Honesty.  Bart is the most honest man I’ve ever known.  Trust is heavily linked to honesty obviously- and I love that he is so trustworthy.  He’s dependable and real and values truth so strongly.  Oh, I hope our children are that honest.

Humility.  Bart exudes humility even when he thinks he’s being prideful.  He might roll his eyes at this, but I’ve never met someone who desires humility more than he does.  He is constantly checking his heart and his motives- even when everything seems fine.

Righteous.  I don’t need our children to be perfect- Lord knows we aren’t.  But what I love about Bart is that he strives for righteousness.  He isn’t content to live status quo, or “good enough”…he is always looking for more.  He wants to go deeper in God because he knows that more God is more love and that lead to righteousness.

Humor.  If our children are half as hilarious as Barty, they are golden.  Not only does he have a genuine sense of how to make people laugh, he knows when to use it in the most serious of situations.  Laughter can diffuse so much tension and mend so much frustration in a moment.  He’s brilliant.  Our marriage is better because he’s funny.

Kindness.  It’s rare to find a man who is so in tune with what is going on around them.  I don’t mean to stereotype, but so many men are pretty aloof and they don’t see past what’s right in front of them.  This is a round about way to get to kindness, but I know that Bart’s heart for others stems from his sensitive heart- and the way he cares for others is so kind.   He is sweet and thoughtful and I already see this developing in my sons.  What a gift.

Servant.  I don’t know another man who serves his wife like Bart does.  While I wish I was the all american house wife of old, clearly I am not.  Bart cleans our house, does laundry, dishes, changes diapers and everything in between…plus his full time job.  He serves relentlessly and does so much without even being asked- he’s my hero.  I am so thankful that our children get to see such a wonderful example if they ever want to get married.

I could keep going and going…but I have many more fathers days to come.

You are my favorite Bart.  Happy Fathers Day my dearest!

And Happy Father’s Day to my own dad- the one I got so many qualities from myself.  I am so thankful you are my dad… I couldn’t have picked a better one.

Love, Krista